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Theresa May in Africa: The key development issues (Devex)

September 4, 2018

By Sophie Edwards 

From the article: 

LONDON — During a week-long trip to several African countries last week, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to deliver “a radical expansion of the U.K.’s presence in Africa,” the heart of which is a £4 billion ($5.13 billion) investment strategy, largely channeled through the U.K. government’s development finance institution, CDC.  

But aid experts have questioned whether May will be able to get her government to deliver on the ambitious plan, and also expressed concerns that using the aid budget to boost trade and investment on the continent could compromise pro-poor development. 


A focus on Africa

The rationale for going after Africa is obvious: It is home to five of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and by 2050 it is estimated a quarter of the world’s population will be living in the region. Yet in recent years, the U.K.’s presence in Africa — in terms of investment, diplomacy, and security personnel — has been diminishing. May is the first prime minister to visit the continent since 2013. Now, she wants to turn that on its head and make the U.K. the G-7’s number one investor in Africa — it is currently second, behind the United States, but its investment level has remained largely stagnant since 2011 and trade levels are low compared to the other G-7 members, according to the Center for Global Development

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Related Experts

Ian Mitchell
Co-Director of Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow